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Need info re sectioning / next of kin please

(9 Posts)
MrsMuddle Fri 09-Oct-09 10:43:35

I've just heard that a friend has been sectioned. She is an aslum seeker and doesn't really know anyone else in this country (I met her through my previous job). Actually, I don't know if she has been sectioned - she's in a adult mental health facility and she says she's not allowed out.

Her English isn't great, and she's not sure what's happening or why she's in hospital, so I want to go in and see what's what. I know she won't have given next of kin details, as she is estranged from her family and has no relations here.

Will the hospital talk to me on her behalf? If not, would she be able to put me down as next of kin now so that they can talk to me, or cant; it be done retrospectively?

Thanks

parker1313 Fri 09-Oct-09 11:54:56

You can have a right if she's says it ok.
Its up to the patient Im sure.
My dad has been sectioned too.If you ask her.
When she goes onto a revovery/treatment ward they will start to have team meetings where tshe will have a doctor,nurse and an ot present and herself.If you speak to her and explain that you are there to help then she can include you in those meetings.
I have to tell you though that if you make yourself responsible the hospital will rely on you quite a bit.You need to be able to be available more than you may want to or can.
Im just saying that if someone is there for her then the hospital have to include you in her recovery and her discharge.
You could just visit and not get involved and give the nursing staff advice and fill them in on stuff.
Be careful as its hard work and hard not to do too much.It wont be healthy for her to become reliant on you.In time she will need to face things by herself (with support obviosly).The more you don the more hosp will expect.
Im not saying that the hosp do this for anyonther reason but for the patients sake.If there is supporrt there then the hosp have to include the support.
I really hope you see what I mean and know what Im on about. hmm

MrsMuddle Fri 09-Oct-09 20:45:15

Thank you for your detailed answer. I know she'll be grateful and happy to have me involved, but that's a good point about being expected to do too much - I'm already overstretched with two DC, a full-time job and a DH who works abroad!

I'm going to go in next week, get her consent for the medical staff to talk to me, and then I'll be able to give her more information about what's happening.

I feel awful saying that I don't want to get any more involved, but I actually don't know her very well, and I don't want to over-promise and then be unable to deliver.

Thanks so much for your help.

parker1313 Sat 10-Oct-09 16:44:05

No worries.Il be watchin this so if you need anymore advice I maybe able to help.
All the best and keep me posted.smile

Orimental Thu 15-Oct-09 00:46:20

If she has no relations here then you can become the Nearest Relative which will give you the power of being first contact with no NOK.

You need to find out what section she is on. If they will not let her out I would assume she is on a Section 2. If you need advice contact me privatlt if you wish. I personally am only a MH (Mental Health) HCA, but have acted as the MHA Administrator's Administrator and my mother is extremely high up in the MH line and knows EVERYTHING there is to know about MH and it's legalities. We will be more than happy to offer some advice of you want it x

VengefulSinner Thu 15-Oct-09 13:36:26

Not sure if you still need advice, but:

They cannot legally hold her unless she is under Section. There are different types of Section, but I would think she would be on a Section 2 if she is as this is the Admission for Assessment Section and can last for up to 28 days.

The MHA uses a Nearest Relative (NR) rather than a Next Of Kin (NOK). These two terms often get confused. In the MHA the NR is a clearly-defined person appointed from a criteria list and has a legally-defined role in the Act. NOK is normally someone who the patient would refer to as the NR; however, this may be someone who would not come under the legal classification as defined in the Act. The NR is defined by a blood relative heirarchy list, but as you say she has no relatives I will not list this now.

It is important to note that a patient CANNOT choose their NR nor can they decide if the NR is consulted or not.

If there is no NR then Social Services are appointed, and it is usually a different borough to the one the patient lives in who will be appointed to ensure that they act in the patient's best interest. A friend cannot usually be appointed as NR, but can be NOK - remembering that NOK is not legally-defined by the MHA and so will have no power of decision.

I hope that helps you understand a bit and I hope your friend gets well soon.

parker1313 Thu 15-Oct-09 19:40:34

That sounds much better than what I offered.blush

VengefulSinner Fri 16-Oct-09 09:33:12

Parker - You offered *very good* advice from a support stand.

I just thought I would try to help with the actual legalities. Unfortuantely a lot of people DO get very confused, as being a patient in a MH hospital is different to being a patient in a general hospital and it is sometimes hard to find out the kind of information that I offered above. If I were not a MHA worker, I would not have known and would have thought that I/relatives/friends would have different rights smile.

I hope that your father is improving/has improved and is getting the right continuing care also.

Best of luck to both of you and if you would like to ask anything I will do my best to help smile

MrsMuddle Sat 17-Oct-09 22:40:03

Thanks all. I've been away for a week, which is why I've not thanked you for your very helpful advice earlier.

I went to see her on Sat morning before I went on holiday, and it appears that she'd not been sectioned, but was admitted straight from a GP's appointment.

The staff were more than happy to see me - I think there had been some communication difficulties - and the main nurse on the ward, my friend and I all sat down together and I think she's clearer now about why she's there and that she can leave at any time, but it's recommended she stays till they get the right level of medication.

I also arranged for her to get Halal meals when she's there, so it all looks a bit more positive now. I'll go back in this week and see how things are.

I'm going to print this thread off and keep it, as I'm sure your advice will come in useful.

Again, many thanks.

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